A police force west of Toronto released details of a number of ridiculous 911 calls including a complaint about a dentist and lost house keys — in hopes of curbing a rise in the amount of inappropriate requests to emergency dispatchers.
Peel Regional Police Service, which serves Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon started the campaign after inappropriate calls to 911 spiked last year, Staff-Sgt. Wayne Patterson said.
Of 365,000 calls to 911 in 2017, 131,000 were deemed to be bogus or misdialled or dialled by mischievous children. That’s more than a third, up from 28 per cent in 2016.
In an attempt at boosting the campaign, Peel police released audio recordings of two particularly strange calls — one about a malfunctioning machine at a laundromat, and another about a bad car wash. Police also released details of some other, equally odd calls to 911.
Dispatcher Sandy Hayer confirmed the list was, in fact, real and demonstrative of the type of frivolous calls she and her colleagues field on a regular basis.
Here are eleven of the most ridiculous 911 calls received by Peel police:
– My dentist has chipped my tooth.
– My cat is missing.
– My power is out. When will it be back on?
– Someone is illegally parked in a handicap spot.
– My neighbour is very noisy.
– I lost my house keys and need help.
– I am in my driveway and cannot find my garage door opener.
– The bank’s hours of operation clearly stipulate that it is supposed to be open right now. It is not open.
– I am trying to call in sick for work but I cannot reach my boss. Can someone please call my boss?
– I am not satisfied with the car wash service I received.
– The machine at the laundromat is malfunctioning.
The correct time to call 911 is during a life-threatening emergency or crime in progress.
Patterson insisted the campaign was not meant to embarrass any callers, only to reduce the burden of frivolous calls so dispatchers can focus on true emergencies.
He stressed that callers with non-emergencies call the Peel police non-emergency line, 905-453-3311. For complaints about garbage pickup or other municipal issues, call the municipality (in Peel, it’s 311). For complaints about dentists, there’s the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario. For complaints about car washes, try the Canadian Carwashers Association.
When in doubt, however, “I want them to call 911 to be on the safe side,” Hayer said.